Dog sports have come a long way since the days of playing fetch in the backyard. Thanks to the creative ideas of many pet owners and trainers, our pets are now able to enjoy a variety of entertaining activities and sports. What a great way to keep your pup mentally and physically fit! Dogs of all sizes and breeds can now participate in many organized dog sports if they are obedient and well-socialized; getting along well with both people and other dogs. If you and your dog are looking for a new and exciting outdoor activity Disc Dog sports, Flyball, Lure Coursing, or Agility may be just what you’re looking for!
If your dog enjoys playing fetch at home with a ball or toy, he may be a great candidate for disc dog sports. Throwing and practicing with a disc at home will help you determine if your dog is up to the challenge of participating in an organized disc dog event. Don’t be discouraged if your dog doesn’t make spectacular mid-air catches. As long as your dog enjoys the chase and eventually brings the disc back to you, he may be a great contender. All breeds of dogs can enjoy disc dog sports, although very small or large dogs will find it more physically challenging. Typically, it is the medium-sized, athletic breeds that excel at the sport. In an organized dog disc event, a dog and handler score points by completing as many catches as possible on a field with marked scoring zones in an allotted time. Distance and accuracy are the key components in judging the performances. In Freestyle, another timed disc dog event, a dog and handler team perform a routine of tricks, throws and catches using multiple discs, usually performed to music. If your dog is at least 1 year old and in good physical shape, the challenging sport of disc dog may be an exhilarating activity that you can both enjoy. For more information about disc dog sports in the Las Vegas area, contact Atomic Dogs at www.atomic-dogs.com.
As an alternative, if you have a ball-crazy dog who is smart and fast, then flyball may be the perfect dog sport for you! In a flyball competition, teams of dogs race against each other, taking turns jumping hurdles and retrieving a tennis ball. To get the tennis ball, each dog must pounce on a spring-loaded box that ejects a ball. After obtaining the ball, each dog must return to his team before the next dog can start the course. Flyball teams are made up of four dogs, with a handler for each dog, plus a box loader. Flyball is a great sport for all breeds of dogs. While herding breeds and retrievers tend to perform the best at flyball, smaller dogs like Chihuahuas and Bulldogs may also enjoy participating. Since flyball is a vigorous sport requiring running and jumping, it is always a good idea to have your dog checked out by a veterinarian before beginning training. For most dogs, it takes three to six months to learn the game. Contact the following clubs for more information:
Fly’N Aces Flyball Team • www.flynaces.com
Touch N Go Flyball Team
Vegas Velocity Flyball Team
Sincity Dogs Flyball Team https://sincitydogs.wixsite.com/website
Another entertaining sport that is perfect for dogs that love chasing EVERYTHING is lure coursing. Most dogs love the thrill of a chase. Lure coursing allows them to experience this natural behavior in a safe, controlled environment. Courses use a mechanical lure (typically a white plastic bag) attached to a movable line positioned slightly above the ground. Using a pulley system, a lure operator moves the white bag in a quick manner across a field, simulating the unpredictability of a real chase. Dogs love it! Lure coursing is a wonderful way to keep your dog’s mind and natural instincts stimulated. To learn more about lure coursing and upcoming events, contact www.k9allure.com.
Although virtually all dog sports are growing in popularity, perhaps the most well-known competitive dog sport is agility. In an agility competition, you and your dog work together to master an obstacle course of jumps, tunnels, and walkways in a race against the clock. Working as a team, you must instruct your dog on what to do and where to go using only voice commands and hand gestures to communicate. At first glance, an agility course resembles a children’s playground. Bright colors adorn the various obstacles, making them highly visible for both dog and owner. Most courses include a bar jump, a tire jump, open and closed tunnels, and weave poles. Your dog will be depending on you to help him achieve the fastest time with the best accuracy. Besides being an incredibly fun sport toparticipate in, agility training is a great way develop better communication with your dog and keep him mentally and physically challenged. Even if you don’t compete, working with your dog at an agility course can be beneficial in strengthening your communication skills and deepening your bond with your dog. Challenging his mental and physical skills with agility training can help your dog build confidence and boost his self-esteem. To learn more about agility training and competitions, contact the Las Vegas Dogs in Competitive Events (LV Dice) at www.lvdice.org.
With so many dog sports to choose from, picking the right one can be difficult. Think about which sport would be the most enjoyable for both of you, not necessarily the one you think you would be the best at. In the long run, it really doesn’t matter if your dog can catch a disc, jump over a bar, or win a competition. Accomplishing those feats is just an added bonus. Dog sports are all about having a different, more structured play activity that you can enjoy together. The real win in a competition is to see how much your dog has improved and seeing the joy on his face while he’s playing. It’s all about the journey, not the destination. ©